Art Poetry 2019 – Pam Siderewicz and Nasim Mansuri

For our 2019 Art & Poetry pairing, one pairing was with poet Nasim Mansuri and artist Pam Siderewicz.

Here are the works they created!

Pam Siderewicz provided this artwork to Nasim:

In response, Nasim wrote the following poem:

When he is born
Moses’ mother puts him in a little basket
lets him drift through the reeds of the Nile
face-up towards the sky
appearing at the mercy of the breeze
When she catches up with him
(the breeze)
maybe she reaches out, and propels him faster
‘til he floats past too fast
misses the Pharaoh’s concubine
misses the nation of slaves who awaited him
eyes cast up, he drifts away from Egypt
until he finds the sea
and maybe then, on the wide waters,
adrift on an ocean of softness
he raises a tiny hand
the waves part
and push him back towards me.

The second half of this pairing involved Nasim giving Pam a poem as a starting point. Nasim provided this poem:

Where do you go, when your own turn you away?
The house shrinks into itself and squeezes the color out
reciting a slogan of human weakness.
In the greyscale that remains
all banners look the same.

Where will we go, when they come for us?
And if not for us, when their same words
come streaming from our children’s mouths?
We’ve heard the same song for so long
I fear we’re condemned to repeat it.

Una misma raza, we used to say.
When they sacked our home they also took our empathy
once you turn against each other you can hate anything
with heads down, eyes closed, the children fade
into a desert of silver blankets.

Where will we go, when they come for us?
Because they will. If not for the sight, then for the sound.
If not for ourselves, then for our words. For quoting God
all come from dust
(even dust can be weaponized.)

Una misma raza, I’ll tell my children.
I’ll whisper it to them in the night. I’ll name them
after verses in poems and holy writings,
after the look in your eyes when we watched our own
turn against each other. After the sound of my heartbeat,
which still sounds like everyone else’s.

In response, Pam provided this artwork:

2019 Art-Poetry Pairing main page